At Together, our approach is rooted in our long experience of working alongside the users of our services as they make the choices that shape their own lives. Our ethos can be summed up quite simply: we believe that people experiencing mental distress can direct their own journey towards improved mental health and to living independent, fulfilling lives.
Our core principle
Our core principle at together is service user leadership. We believe service user leadership does not only benefit those people who are accessing support; the benefits can have a positive impact on all aspects of Together, and wider society.
A key element of service user leadership is the power of lived experience. We want to be able to learn from people who have a range of views and who have experienced mental distress in different ways and whose lives have been affected in different ways to inform and influence Together from a Lived Experience perspective.
Because these terms are at the heart of our work at Together we worked with our service users and teams to clearly define them and developed the following definitions:
Our definition of service user leadership is as follows:
“Service user leadership empowers people to make choices that affect their lives, lead their journey to wellbeing on their own terms and to collectively influence and improve services, organisations and society.”
Our definition of lived experience is:
“A person who has experienced mental distress, and who can draw on their unique knowledge and personal insights to connect with others, influencing and informing from a lived experience perspective.”
Our vision, purpose and ambition
Our vision for Together
Our ambition for society
Our value statement and values
As part of developing this new strategy, we reviewed and refreshed our organisational values. We have a value statement and a set of 5 values that are the behaviours which guide the way we work.
Collaboration: achieving together
“If you have any concerns, they are quick to listen and will act accordingly. On a more personal note, they have helped me in my recovery by getting me connected with local services.”
Service user at Hopewell House, supported accommodation scheme
- We work with communities, advocating and increasing awareness of the interests that matter most to service users.
- We utilise the knowledge, skills and experience of everybody to achieve the best outcomes.
- We create meaningful internal and external connections to ensure everyone can access the support they require.
- We actively raise awareness of mental wellbeing and the benefits of service user leadership, supporting people to participate in local society.
Choice: through involvement
“I am very grateful to all at Together’s Elva Court Accommodation Service for investing in me, and seeing my strengths and skills over and above my diagnosis and my history.”
Jess, service user, Elva Court Accommodation Service
- We champion knowledge gained through lived experience and embrace the positive impact this brings on creating options and supporting choice.
- We work with compassion, respect and creativity to encourage people to solve problems and find solutions.
- We listen and empathise to understand the issues that matter to people, in order to support their choices and aspirations.
- We are responsive and empowering, focusing on what can be achieved.
Integrity: doing what we say
“I love working with the Advocate and I always know she will be honest whether we want to hear it or not. She is always passionate about making sure a person’s rights are respected and I really value her opinion and approach.”
Clinical Psychiatric Nurse on Advocacy Together Hub Knowsley
- We create trusting relationships and environments by considering the whole person, individual situations and not over-promising.
- We are fair, reliable, open-minded, punctual and agree realistic expectations, which we are trusted to deliver.
- We ensure that we always say what we mean.
- We communicate with consistency and clarity.
- We are committed to making decisions transparently.
Resilience: never giving up on people
“Being involved with York Pathways has saved me in more ways than I thought was possible. They gave me hope when I had none and they have done everything in their power to help me to stay well.”
Sophie, Service User, York Pathways
- We care passionately about empowering people to use their knowledge and experiences to lead their journeys to better wellbeing.
- We use flexible and innovative approaches to achieve goals.
- We are brave and resolute when facing challenges.
- We don’t let people’s future be defined by their past.
- We are passionate about everyone’s access to better wellbeing and hold the hope for a better future.
Continuous improvement: Learning and evolving
“I am very grateful that people are now recognising my conditions (ASD) which had previously been ignored by other professionals and I feel that I am now receiving support. You helped be to be heard at last.”
Service User, Advocacy Together Hub Knowsley
- We are curious and deeply inquisitive about people and our work.
- We consider the whole-person and recognise that genuine interest in each person enables us to support people with their aspirations.
- We create a safe environment for people to be who they want to be.
- We are conscious of our actions, decisions, and their impact.
- We actively seek and learn from feedback and make changes to deliver the best we can.